As a shadchan, I wish to bring to a light a reality that I’ve seen time and again. Parents have a fine son or daughter, who they think the world of. They set the bar extremely high, turning down shidduchim right and left, because the people being redd lack the prerequisites (name recognition, yichus, money, etc.) they are seeking for their diamond. Months and then years go by, as the parents stick to their guns, unwilling to compromise on what they want.
Before the parents know it, their child is now in shidduchim for years, perhaps even an “older single.” And by now, the single has become picky, while the parents don’t understand why the single isn’t willing to compromise. In truth, the single merely learned this approach from his/her parents, who followed this mindset for years and only changed because they became so frustrated and now just wish for their child to go out with anyone. The child, though, is now the one in the driver’s seat.
Parents must realize that when they stubbornly establish early on that they want this or they want that in their child’s shidduch, they might just be the ones who are creating a potential problem when their child, a few years down the line, is simply replicating this approach.
What do the experts on the panel feel can be done to prevent this situation in the first place and to address it once it has reared its ugly head?
Though I have no qualms with approbating the phenomenon described as one which is occasionally valid, it seems to me that the oft blinding emphasis on satisfying innumerable and immeasurable external desires in shidduchim is more meaningfully a byproduct of our larger, current shared values than anything else. And as such, I feel that the unfortunately common woe that is a staunch unwillingness for some to focus solely on that which is necessary to accomplish a happy marriage is far better served by being addressed on a global level than it is as one which is effectively confined and limited to being considered as but a derivative of persnickety parents.
Thus, while there are surely parents who have negatively impacted their children’s future prospects via voracious impositions at the early stage of the process, and such hindrances be must curtailed indeed, I would posit that the greater problem is a communal one, and that therefore, the general obstacle will best be rendered obsolete through the vehicle of greatly diminishing our own overarching and unbending societal demands. Correspondingly, if improvements in the realm of prevention and recovery are to be achieved, I believe the matter must be addressed on a macro level – identifying how we are all contributors to the outcome – and that we ought to refrain from escaping culpability by hoping to essentially place the blame on merely one small demographic of the populace.
And so as not to overburden the argument with grandiloquent verbosity or ostentatious erudition, I would like to make the following as patently plain as possible.
Whether it be the homes we build; the cars we drive; the cl0thes we wear; the manner in which we adorn our children; the kiddushes, brisim, bar-mitzvas, vorts, and chasunahs we make; the educational institutions we selectively patronize; or almost any other area of the human experience we transact with, we have collectively decided to just about demean all that is deemed as less than “metzuyan.” And to suppose that this overwhelming and all-consuming pursuit does not leave an indelible mark on anyone who is reared in its wake, is to turn a blind eye on reality for the sake of our own pleasure-seeking.
Is it really any wonder that a number of our young men and women have been instilled with an insatiable need to secure the most prestigious shidduch conceivable, after having been inculcated with an unrelenting ambition for perfection by an atmosphere that unrepentantly professes a palpable schema of never–accept-anything-less-than-the-best? When the primacy of luxury pervades our communities, our shuls, our homes, and the pages of our favorite publications, will it not invade our children’s psyche in equal measure?
Accordingly, it is my belief that the most potent pathway to preclusion is most likely to be found in an earnest reassessment of the entirety our priorities from the start, and that the most rapid route to recuperation lies squarely in an unflinching commitment to looking inwards until one appreciates that amassing everything is not the answer to anything, and that it is certainly not the conduit to attaining nuptial contentment.
May Melech Yozter Kol guide us towards the derech hayashar, hastily, in all areas and at all times.